We won the Games

Peninsula gets bid for 2006 competition

Posted: Friday, March 07, 2003

It's official: The 2006 Arctic Winter Games are coming to town.

After waiting anxiously for more than a month, bid organizers received official word Thursday that the games have been awarded to the Kenai Peninsula.

Bid committee coordinator Jack Brown said he's been losing sleep the last few nights waiting to hear the announcement. He said Thursday he's thrilled the international games committee decided to bring the prestigious arctic sports competition to the area.

"It's just great," Brown said. "We're going to have a lot of fun with this."

The announcement came in the form of a press release issued by Gerry Thick, president of the AWG International Committee. The Kenai Peninsula Borough beat out competing bids from Fairbanks which previously hosted the games in 1982 and 1988 and Juneau. In awarding the games to the peninsula, Thick cited the enormous amount of community support as the deciding factor.

"The committee was extremely impressed with the degree of community commitment and thorough understanding of the Games the bid committee demonstrated in their written submission and during the selection committee's tour," Thick said in the press release.

During its site visit in January, the international committee was treated to a red carpet greeting at the Kenai airport, a reception at Kenai Central High School attended by more than 2,000 people and a VIP tour of area sports facilities.

Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey on Thursday said the numerous volunteers who worked on the site visit were responsible for ensuring the bid's success.

"As mayor of Soldotna, I am most appreciative of the work done in the bid preparation stage by many scores of people, private and public, working with the borough and municipal governments," Carey said.

The mayor singled out numerous individuals for their hard work during the bid process, including Borough Mayor Dale Bagley who initially proposed the idea of exploring a peninsula bid Kenai Mayor John Williams, Homer Mayor Jack Cushing, Soldotna Police Chief Shirley Gifford, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Assistant Superintendent Todd Syverson and Soldotna Parks and Recreation Director Andrew Carmichael for helping lead a cooperative effort that also included hundreds of volunteers.

Carey said he believes it was the spirit of cooperation which ultimately led to the success of the bid.

"We just felt like we had shown the very best side of our community," the mayor said, barely able to contain his enthusiasm. "We're really stoked."

Despite their obvious excitement over receiving the bid, local officials will have precious little time to savor the moment. Brown said there's lots of work still to be done before the peninsula is ready to host the games, which are expected to bring an estimated 2,000 athletes into the area from Alaska, Scandinavia, Russia, Canada, Nunavut Territory and Greenland.

"The next step will be to sign a contract with the international committee," he said.

Brown said he expected a contract to be signed next month. After that, the committee will begin looking at logistical and organizational issues related to putting on the games.

"We'll have to form a host society, assign committee chairs and pick a general manager," he said.

Carmichael said after organizational issues are taken care of, the work of preparing venues will begin. Facilities around the peninsula must be prepared to handle a wide variety of sporting events, including basketball, hockey, Dene (Native) games, cross country skiing, indoor soccer, biathlon and curling.

He said a timetable for completion of the work upgrading existing facilities, implementing transportation plans and preparing athlete housing is not yet known. However, he did say he's ready to get to work.

"Work will really start to pick up speed in the fall," he said. "And there's some things that we'll be doing between now and then as well."

Some of the work slated to take place will likely include the installation of a fourth wall and bleachers at the Kenai ice facility and upgrading the Tsalteshi Trails complex behind Skyview High School.

In addition to preparing facilities, Carmichael said a team from the local committee will be traveling to the 2004 games in Wood Buffalo, Alberta, to get a feel for how those games are run. After that, he said the local team will return home to finalize work in preparation for hosting the 2006 games.

Bid organizer Brown said he's definitely happy to know for sure that the games are coming. However, he said there's a lot of work that must be done between now and 2006. He likened the process to hunting, where all the hard work comes after the thrill of the kill.

"It's like shooting a moose. After you shoot it, all the fun's over," he said.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Residents greet the site selection committee for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games in January as they arrive at Renee C. Henderson Auditorium.

By MATT TUNSETH

Peninsula Clarion

It's official: The 2006 Arctic Winter Games are coming to town.

After waiting anxiously for more than a month, bid organizers received official word Thursday that the games have been awarded to the Kenai Peninsula.

Bid committee coordinator Jack Brown said he's been losing sleep the last few nights waiting to hear the announcement. He said Thursday he's thrilled the international games committee decided to bring the prestigious arctic sports competition to the area.

"It's just great," Brown said. "We're going to have a lot of fun with this."

The announcement came in the form of a press release issued by Gerry Thick, president of the AWG International Committee. The Kenai Peninsula Borough beat out competing bids from Fairbanks which previously hosted the games in 1982 and 1988 and Juneau. In awarding the games to the peninsula, Thick cited the enormous amount of community support as the deciding factor.

"The committee was extremely impressed with the degree of community commitment and thorough understanding of the Games the bid committee demonstrated in their written submission and during the selection committee's tour," Thick said in the press release.

During its site visit in January, the international committee was treated to a red carpet greeting at the Kenai airport, a reception at Kenai Central High School attended by more than 2,000 people and a VIP tour of area sports facilities.

Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey on Thursday said the numerous volunteers who worked on the site visit were responsible for ensuring the bid's success.

"As mayor of Soldotna, I am most appreciative of the work done in the bid preparation stage by many scores of people, private and public, working with the borough and municipal governments," Carey said.

The mayor singled out numerous individuals for their hard work during the bid process, including Borough Mayor Dale Bagley who initially proposed the idea of exploring a peninsula bid Kenai Mayor John Williams, Homer Mayor Jack Cushing, Soldotna Police Chief Shirley Gifford, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Assistant Superintendent Todd Syverson and Soldotna Parks and Recreation Director Andrew Carmichael for helping lead a cooperative effort that also included hundreds of volunteers.

Carey said he believes it was the spirit of cooperation which ultimately led to the success of the bid.

"We just felt like we had shown the very best side of our community," the mayor said, barely able to contain his enthusiasm. "We're really stoked."

Despite their obvious excitement over receiving the bid, local officials will have precious little time to savor the moment. Brown said there's lots of work still to be done before the peninsula is ready to host the games, which are expected to bring an estimated 2,000 athletes into the area from Alaska, Scandinavia, Russia, Canada, Nunavut Territory and Greenland.

"The next step will be to sign a contract with the international committee," he said.

Brown said he expected a contract to be signed next month. After that, the committee will begin looking at logistical and organizational issues related to putting on the games.

"We'll have to form a host society, assign committee chairs and pick a general manager," he said.

Carmichael said after organizational issues are taken care of, the work of preparing venues will begin. Facilities around the peninsula must be prepared to handle a wide variety of sporting events, including basketball, hockey, Dene (Native) games, cross country skiing, indoor soccer, biathlon and curling.

He said a timetable for completion of the work upgrading existing facilities, implementing transportation plans and preparing athlete housing is not yet known. However, he did say he's ready to get to work.

"Work will really start to pick up speed in the fall," he said. "And there's some things that we'll be doing between now and then as well."

Some of the work slated to take place will likely include the installation of a fourth wall and bleachers at the Kenai ice facility and upgrading the Tsalteshi Trails complex behind Skyview High School.

In addition to preparing facilities, Carmichael said a team from the local committee will be traveling to the 2004 games in Wood Buffalo, Alberta, to get a feel for how those games are run. After that, he said the local team will return home to finalize work in preparation for hosting the 2006 games.

Bid organizer Brown said he's definitely happy to know for sure that the games are coming. However, he said there's a lot of work that must be done between now and 2006. He likened the process to hunting, where all the hard work comes after the thrill of the kill.

"It's like shooting a moose. After you shoot it, all the fun's over," he said.



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